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Biology
Completed Project

Vassar College Arboretum Project: Preparation of an Updated Pamphlet Map and ArbNet Arboretum Certification

Samuel Short, Vassar College ’16 and Prof. Mark Schlessman
Our project had two main goals; first, to prepare an updated, GIS-based pamphlet map of trees on Vassar’s main campus, including all extant class trees and memorial trees, that will be available to all members of the Vassar Community, as well as visitors to our campus. Secondly, to prepare our arboretum collection for certification by ArbNet, an international arboreta organization, as the Vassar campus is currently not a certified arboretum. Using an ArcGIS database of the previous 1992 edition of the map, we went around to every tree listed and checked to see if it was there and if all of the stored information on it was accurate, while also adding new trees to the database. Our second goal was to get Vassar certified as a Level II arboretum, for which we need to get labels on over a 100 unique tree species. We now have close to 80 tree species labeled – up from the 38 at the beginning of the summer – and when we get new labels, we will easily be able to get over 100 labeled species. Although we accomplished a large part of our goals for the arboretum this summer, there is still work to do. The arboretum pamphlet needs to be completed and printed using the information compiled this summer. We also hope to reestablish a strong class tree tradition, with an organized and well- funded process of choosing and planting a class tree each year.